Wednesday, March 26

Social Dining at mEAT


Last week I checked out the cleverly-named Boystown restaurant, mEAT. The restaurant markets itself as a place to meet and eat...hence the name!  mEAT was developed by the team behind minibar and DS Tequila Co and offers a more laid back atmosphere to enjoy small plates and cocktails with groups large or small. mEAT's owners, John Dalton and Stu Zurich invited a group of local bloggers to check out the menu for a private dinner.

mEAT's menu is strongly focused on options that are Paleo- and gluten-free friendly, however, patrons like myself, who aren't specifically seeking these options, will still find the menu interesting. The menu features plenty of meat, seafood, and vegetarian skewers, alongside a variety of side dishes including fondue mac and cheese, Greek potatoes, and pureed cauliflower. Everything is served in a manner that encourages sharing, so if you've never been good at sharing (it's OK!) this place may not be for you.

At the start of our meal, we tried some simply-prepared kale chips. These were a nice, healthier alternative to bread or chips and salsa. We also tried truffle fondue with fontina, gruyere, garlic, white truffle oil, and white wine.

Kale Chips
Truffle Fondue
Next, we tried some refreshing cucumber cups with white onion, kalamata olives, tomato, feta, and a balsamic reduction. I don't even like olives but I tried these and they were nice little bite-sized bursts of flavor.

Cucumber Cups
The skewers we tried included shrimp, bacon-wrapped dates, pistachio-crusted pork, rosemary-mint pork, beef tenderloin, and seared scallops. While some were arguably better than others, my faves were the dates and the pistachio-crusted pork. I was also impressed by the massive size of the scallops and shrimp.

Shrimp Skewer
Beef Tenderloin Skewer
We also tried a handful of sides including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower puree, fondue mac and cheese, and Greek potatoes. My favorite was the Greek potatoes. They were HUGE and topped with a delicious blend of Greek spices and tomato puree. The cauliflower puree was a huge hit with our table of hungry bloggers. I love making this side dish at home and theirs was pretty good. It may sound weird, but it tastes just like mashed potatoes.

Brussels Sprouts
Greek Potatoes
The beverage program at mEAT was created by mixologist Tony Potempa (Pump Room, Boarding House, American Junkie) and features various options with a twist on common cocktails. I tried several cocktails including the Sazerac (which tasted more like a pisco sour), the pisco burgundy sour (which was nothing like a pisco sour), and the American Mule, their take on a Moscow Mule.

Pisco Burgundy Sour (L) and Sazerac (R)
The American Mule
Undoubtedly, the most interesting drinks I tried were the Szechuan Button Cocktail and the Vaportini. I was intrigued by the Szechuan Button Cocktail which comes with the bud of a flower that, when bitten, numbs your mouth. mEAT has these buds shipped in weekly from a supplier in California. I immediately felt the buzzing sensation on my tongue, which also heightened the citrus notes in the cocktail.

Szechuan Button Cocktail
Szechuan Button Cocktail
The Vaportini was brought out prior to our dessert course, causing much confusion based on its appearance alone. A Vaportini is a glass device that allows you to inhale, rather than swallow, alcohol. Heat vaporizes a glass bulb filled with spirits which can be inhaled directly through a straw. The alcohol is instantly absorbed into the bloodstream and is said to contain no calories, no carbs, and no impurities. We tried it with a caramel vodka which you could immediately feel! The Vaportini usually lasts about 40 minutes and is easily shared with others. My guess is that we'll start seeing these pop up across the city!

The Vaportini
Testing out the Vaportini. Guess what? It works :P
We finished our meal the same way we started, with fondue! This time we enjoyed two varieties of chocolate fondue, Bananas Foster and Flaming Turtle. My fave was the turtle because I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate which comes in the Bananas Foster fondue. We were presented with all of the traditional accoutrements including fruit, cheesecake, brownie bites, and Oreo-dusted marshmallows. It was a nice ending to our shared blogger meal!

Fondue Accoutrements
The Flaming Turtle lived up to its name!
Note: my meal at mEAT was complimentary, however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

mEAT
www.eatatmeat.com
3339 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
773.871.2682
mEAT Chicago on Urbanspoon

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